Abstract: Poverty is a consistent problem in most developing countries of the world especially in the rural areas. Food security has been found to be a crucial mediation for poverty reduction. The natural resources constitute the basis for the fulfilment of basic needs of the poor people in the rural areas. This study considers the role of natural resource utilisation as a poverty reduction strategy in the rural areas. The livelihood activities of the rural were identified; the available natural resources in the locality and the use to which these resources are put were equally determined. The study was carried out at Ife-central local government area of Osun state. A multistage sampling procedure was used to select 120 members of the Fadama user group in the area. The survey was conducted using structured questionnaire to collect information from the respondents. Statistics such as frequencies and percentages were used to describe the data. The study revealed that all the respondents are crop farmers, 44.17% of them are fisher-folks, 30% of them are hunters while 26.67% of them gather Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP). All the respondents (100%) indicated that land, water and crop/plant resources are available in the area, 43.33% indicated palm tree and 30% indicated availability of wild animals and birds among other resources that were equally indicated by fewer respondents. The respondents` uses of the resources include the following; 100% indicated them as sources of food, home use, income and fuel. Equally, 99.17 and 95.83% indicated them sources of medicinal and animal feed, respectively. So also 80% indicated them as sources of food packing materials, while 75.83 and 70.83% indicated them as sources of produce preservation and ornamental materials, respectively. The respondents` livelihood activities basically depended on the natural resources. The respondents adequately recognised and are cognisant of the importance of the natural resources to their livelihood activities. The uses to which the resources are put have a direct bearing on people`s basic needs, which has implication for their poverty status. The study recommended that poverty reduction programmes for rural populace must incorporate environmental management strategies to be meaningful. Environmental management programmes should involve the rural populace who are the principal stakeholder in the issue in order to make such management sustainable.
O.T. Yekinni and E.O. Okunade , 2007. Natural Resources Utilisation and Livelihood Strategies in Rural Communities: Implications for Poverty Reduction. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, 2: 335-339.